Children add so much to your life: newfound fulfillment, unconditional love, and unbridled joy. They also add a lot of clutter. With your child comes dolls, blocks, trains, balls, puzzles, board games, and more. If a cluttered house is a sign of a cluttered mind, let us help you attain mental nirvana. This step-by-step guide to having proper storage for kids' toys will help you achieve a home — and mind! — that is both clean and serene.
Whoever said “less is more” probably meant that fewer toys lead to more happiness. By adopting this minimalist approach, you are avoiding the maximum mess. The first step in the decluttering process invites you to throw on your comfiest article of women’s loungewear, roll up your sleeves, and commit a Sunday to minimizing your kids’ toys. Sort into four piles: discard, donate, store, and keep. Your “keep pile” should be the smallest! Be sure to do this without your children present to avoid any unnecessary power struggles. Feel free to swap your children’s toys with ones you’ve placed in storage every few months. This rotation of “new” toys will be free for you and priceless for them.
Now that you’ve pared down the toys, you’re ready to organize. Be sure to group toys based on types, such as dolls, cars, and building blocks. You may consider further sorting toys by your children’s ages. For example, building blocks can be divided into toddler building blocks and big kid building blocks.
Congratulations! Your kids’ toys are now carefully selected and newly categorized. Now where should you put them? Invest in see-through bins so that it’s easy for your kids to see where things go when it’s time to clean up. If you opt for more durable canvas storage bins, be sure to label the outside with writing or a picture. Involve your kids in this organization process. Have them create their own labels so they feel more invested in keeping their space organized.
Over-the-door shoe organizers with see-through pockets are perfect for small toys or art supplies. You can also place activities like jewelry-making items or stickers on trays that can be easily taken out and just as easily be put away.
A child’s play area is like a parent’s linen closet. A messy linen closet evokes unnecessary unfolding and rummaging. Yet when organized, you can grab clean bed sheets or pillowcases quickly and easily.
Whether it’s a linen closet or play area, remember the key to a tidy home: There should be a place for everything and everything in its place. Consider the layout of their space and where every bin should go. You will want art supplies near their desk and toy bins close to the carpet. Think of accessibility: if your child can’t reach it on their own, he or she will never be able to put those toys away. Finally, block off time with your kids to go over where all their toys should “live.” Confirm that they understand where things go by asking, “If you want a remote-control car, where would you find it?” or “Which bins hold the blocks?”
So far, you’ve done the heavy lifting in this process, but it’s time to delegate the rest to your little ones. Set them up for success by enforcing easy-to-follow systems and routines for cleaning up. First, provide a rationale for why it’s important to keep toys picked up. Next, be crystal clear with your expectations. For example, your policy might say that when your child finishes with one toy, it must be put away before another one is taken out. Finally, give them a chance to practice taking out toys and cleaning up.
You’ve set the expectation, but now you must follow through until it becomes habitual. A natural consequence would be that any left out toys will be put into storage for a week. Reinforce excellent clean up behavior by positively narrating when they follow the clean-up policy. Depending on your children’s ages, you can include this on a chore chart. Reward them with a weekly allowance or a tasty treat in their lunchboxes on Friday.
Your children will amaze you with how quickly they pick up good organizational habits. When your children maintain the organization of their toys, now that’s unbridled joy.